Reduce Global Warming By Blocking Sunlight

At a conference last year on global warming, distinguished astrophysicist and sf author Gregory Benford pointed out that the various measures proposed to stop global warming will not do the job soon enough.

So, he has a radical proposal - build a concave Fresnel lens 1,000 kilometers across but only a few millimeters thick, and place it at the L1 orbital point between ourselves and the Sun. This would slightly reduce the total amount of sunlight to fall upon the Earth and cool us down enough to offset our greenhouse gas production.

Benford's credentials are impressive; he is a professor of plasma physics and astrophysics at the University of California, and has been an adviser for NASA, the Department of Energy and the White House Council on Space Policy. He believes that the project could be completed with current technology for a cost of about $10 billion up front, and another $10 billion over its lifespan.

The lens would be spun to help it maintain its shape; it would need thrusters around its rim to keep it from drifting away and spin it up to speed.

This is not the first time this kind of idea has been proposed, although in different circumstances. Arthur C. Clarke used a similar idea in his 1953 novel Childhood's End when it became necessary for the Overlords to discipline an entire country:

There had also been some passive resistance to the policy of the Overlords. Usually, Karellen had been able to deal with it by letting those concerned have their own way, until they had discovered that they were only hurting themselves by their refusal to co-operate. Only once had he taken any direct action against a recalcitrant government.

For more than a hundred years, the Republic of South Africa had been the centre of social strife... When it became clear that no attempt would be made to end discrimination, Karellen gave his warning. It merely named a date and time-no more. There was apprehension, but little fear or panic, for no-one believed that the Overlords would take any violent or destructive action which would involve innocent and guilty alike.

Nor did they. All that happened was that as the sun passed the meridian at Cape Town-it went out. There remained visible merely a pale, purple ghost, giving no heat or light. Somehow, out in space, the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass. The area affected was five hundred kilometres across, and perfectly circular.

The demonstration lasted thirty minutes. It was sufficient: the next day the Government of South Africa announced that full civil rights would be restored to the white minority.

Take a look at more than two dozen original science fiction ideas and inventions from the work of Arthur C. Clarke. Read more at Astroengineering global warming.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/10/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 23 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.' - Harry Harrison, 1956.

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...' - Philip K. Dick, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'

LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.

Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'

Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'

Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.